In 1994, Jerry Sandusky allegedly molested a 10-year-old boy. And then allegedly he did it again in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2007. In all, Penn State’s defensive coordinator is facing 40 counts of sexual abuse on underage boys.
Between 1994 and Nov. 5, 2011, when Sandusky was arrested, several figures–Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, Gov. Tom Corbett, then Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar and others–were made aware of Sandusky’s lascivious lifestyle. It wasn’t until Nov. 5, however, that any public action was taken against Sandusky.
Yet, PSU students don’t seem to care so much about that as they do about the shame these events have brought their not-so-Happy Valley. In fact, it seems they have altogether ignored Sandusky’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde complex, and instead are up in arms about the loss of JoePa.
Students launched a merciless blitz on their campus late Thursday night, tearing down lamp posts, flipping a news van and throwing stones and bottles at reporters.
They took to Facebook, vigorously pumping out statuses proclaiming their support of their alma mater.
The Staters proclaiming their love and devotion to JoePa, to Old Main and to PSU’s legacy are the very same ones who rioted in the streets, destroying their pride and joy.
And what about the alleged victims? What’s being done about the eight boys brought to Sandusky under the pretense of The Second Mile, an organization he founded for underprivileged Pennsylvania youth? It’s only now that any attention has been given to these alleged victims.
PSU students aren’t actually insensitive imbeciles, though. They’re just toddlers. First, they lost what they want: Paterno. Then they threw a temper tantrum and destroy everything in their path. Only then, in the wake of said destruction, did they take a step back and realize the magnitude and implications of something greater than their own hyper-inflated egos. Only then did some students hold a candlelight vigil in honor of these victims. Only then did they realize the error of their ways.
The saying, “too little, too late,” comes to mind. While the rest of Pennsylvania’s citizens’ hearts went out to these victims immediately after hearing of Sandusky’s scandal, it took some PSU students nearly four days to get their heads out of the sand. Or, in this case, Paterno’s butt.
I am personally ashamed to call myself a fellow student in the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. As a Temple Owl, I have always felt inferior to the Nittany Lions, be it in terms of perceived quality of education, the fact that I live five blocks from the ghetto, or that Temple isn’t a raging party school like the blue and white.
Yet, in light of this recent scandal, I can only rejoice in knowing that my fellow Owls would never react in such a manner.
Abbey Gunzenhauser, also a senior elementary and special education major said she thinks that Penn State students are tarnishing their reputation.
“Their behavior after the fact brought more controversy along with it, and only made it worse,” Gunzenhauser said. “But, it shows that they have passion for their school, but they need to put that aside and think about the people that are important.”
Groupthink, cult-like mentality aside, all I’d really like to see from Staters is an apology. Apologize to the victims, on behalf of Sandusky. Apologize to the state, for exacerbating an already volatile scandal. And apologize to JoePa, for idolatry, exaltation and for allowing their blinding devotion to him eclipse the larger issues at hand.
Alexis Sachdev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.